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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Egg-binding in birds is commonly diagnosed - but what is it ?

The term "egg-binding" is commonly used in veterinary practice. The condition is an emergency and it is caused by an egg becoming stuck in the reproductive tract (actually in the oviduct) of the hen bird. As a result the bird will show a variety of signs :

  • Collapse - exhaustion, depression
  • Straining
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Sitting on cold surfaces
  • As a result of the straining the cloaca (and occasionally the oviduct itself) can prolapse

Several factors are thought to be involved in the cause of this condition, including :

  • Obesity - overweight birds are more likely to develop the condition
  • Low environmental temperatures
  • Dietary calcium deficiency 
  • Disease or age-related disorders of the oviduct

Management of the condition includes :

  • Ovoid obesity
  • Increase environmental temperature - to about 90 degrees F. (32 degrees C)
  • Ensure a correct balanced ration. 
  • Therapy with calcium injections (20% calcium borogluconate)
  • Manual removal of the egg
  • Surgical removal of the egg
  • Removal of the egg yolk by syringe - allowing the egg to collapse and be passed naturally, or removed manually.
  • Pain killers (analgesics)

If the condition is not treated successfully the egg may rupture internally leading to inflammation of the abdominal cavity - called peritonitis, which can be life-threatening.


Updated October 2013